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Summary:

Nokia has been impressing me lately with lots of new phones and a push into the enterprise market.  They have always been putting innovative features on their phones and it’s no surprise they are selling handsets like hotcakes.  I must admit I was surprised to find […]

Nokia has been impressing me lately with lots of new phones and a push into the enterprise market.  They have always been putting innovative features on their phones and it’s no surprise they are selling handsets like hotcakes.  I must admit I was surprised to find out something recently that flies in the face of that innovation.  Nokia sells their high-end handsets unlocked for the most part which means they can put anything on the phones they want without worry that they will rile the big bad carrier.  They jumped on the VoIP bandwagon early on with the ability to provide these types of functions even though carriers hate VoIP.  It makes sense as phones with VoIP capability can be used to make free calls, something road warriors really love to avoid roaming charges.

Om Malik got a reader tip that the newest Nokia handsets have removed the ability of the phones to do VoIP.  This was done quietly and I had not heard this anywhere.  It surprised Om too so he pulled out some phones and sure enough the newer handsets don’t support VoIP.  He turned to Nokia for an explanation and got this which pretty much confirms it:

Nokia Nseries is committed VoIP services as part of itsoffering. That is why we have included SIP stack and improved thedeveloper VoIP offering in S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 by enhancingthe VoIP APIs to improve the call quality, as an example.

A Nokia VoIP client is not included with the Nokia N78 and the NokiaN96 and VoIP solutions based on this particular client such as Gizmowill not work. However, Forum Nokia will cooperate with third-partydevelopers to support them in porting their applications from S603.0/3.1 releases to S60 3.2. One example is Fring, whose popularapplication will be offered via Nokia’s Download! service for the NokiaN96.

It would seem to me that Nokia is bowing to some pressure from the carriers as there is seldom a reason to remove abilities that you already have.  This probably won’t surprise many but it caught me unawares as I thought Nokia was above carrier pressure.

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  1. I thought Nokia’s statement was a bit hard to fathom. They don’t really explain why the feature is not present in their 3.1 version though do they.

    Here in the UK my carrier (3) includes skype on all their phones and allows free skype to skype calls on their network. It’s quite a cool feature really.

    Other than Skype and Fring, I wonder if many people are using the SIP features in N-series phones.

  2. Why the assumption it was carrier pressure? Seems to me the VoIP providers have the most to gain out of this deal since they no longer need to compete with a pre-installed VoIP app. Also, by making VoIP third-party only, Nokia sheds some of its workload. Having their own VoIP system seems pretty unnecessary (and not cost-effective) given the other offerings out there.

  3. James Kendrick Monday, August 25, 2008

    Sumocat, what Nokia has removed is the ability to use these services, third party included. TruPhone and Gizmo Project have always worked but have now been disabled. Nokia has disabled the ability to use VoIP. That’s pretty significant.

  4. Nokia removed their built-in ability to use VoIP, which does affect those apps that rely on it, but they clearly stated third-party solutions will be offered. Fring is cited as an example of something they plan on offering from their download store. Truphone has stated they are going forward with their own solution. Obviously, these guys think they can get VoIP on Nokia phones even without the built-in support.

    Also, I think they needed built-in support in the first place because Symbian wasn’t open. Don’t need built-in support to run VoIP on Linux systems. Now that Nokia has opened Symbian 9.5 (which ironically boasts improved VoIP), I would think the built-in support would no longer be needed.

  5. And once again a tiny thing was blown way out of proportion by the blogospere…

    See this post on Nokia’s Conversations blog for some REAL info:
    http://conversations.nokia.com/home/2008/08/the-report-of-t.html

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